What is Conservatorship?

Conservatorship is established by a court case in which a judge appoints a responsible person – a conservator – to care for another adult – the conservatee – who cannot adequately care for him or herself or manage his or her own finances.  The appointed conservatee may be a family member, a friend, or the Public Guardian.  Once a conservator is appointed, he or she is legally responsible to manage the conservatee’s needs, such as health care, psychological services, legal and financial assistance, social services, living arrangements, and activities of daily living.

Probate conservatorships are for adults who cannot provide for their own personal needs due to dementia, cognitive impairment, brain injury, developmental disability, or other conditions that seriously impair an individual’s ability to care for him or herself, or protect him or herself from undue influence. 

Known as an “LPS Conservatorship,” this type of conservatorship is granted for gravely disabled adults who require very restrictive living arrangements and extensive mental health treatment, and are unable or unwilling to enter the treatment voluntarily.  An LPS conservatorship requires the annual reappointment of the conservator.  There are many extra protections in LPS conservatorships to ensure that the conservatee’s civil rights are safeguarded.

A conservator of the person is responsible for arranging the conservatee’s care, well-being, and safety, making decisions about the conservatee’s residence or placement, and overseeing the conservatee’s medical needs, food, clothing, personal care, housekeeping, transportation, and recreational activities.

The conservator of the estate would manage the conservatee’s finances, protect the conservatee’s income and property, keep track of all items in the estate, ensure that the conservatee’s financial needs are met, ensure that the conservatee’s bills are paid on time, oversee investments, establish supplemental income and health benefits, file income taxes on time, manage financial record-keeping, and provide the court with financial accountings on a regular basis.

A Murphy Conservatorship is a conservatorship arrangement specially designed out of public safety concerns. It is specifically for criminal defendants found incompetent to stand trial under the superior court of California's Penal Code section 1370.